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Conversations: Rey Carpio on adapting to change by MyProperty.phPublished: February 10, 2016Updated: February 17, 2016

Grand Monaco president Reynaldo Carpio discusses why change is important in the growth of one’s business.

In many cases, change is a good thing. That’s what Grand Monaco Estate Developers, Inc. president Reynaldo “Rey” Carpio believed when he saw the potential of his real estate empire. Starting out with a capital of Php5,000, his brand now has Php15 billion in housing inventories after almost 30 years in operation. And his brand just keeps on growing as he ventures beyond residential real estate to hotels, food, and even memorial plots.

Here, talks to Rey about how change played a big part in the success of Grand Monaco and of the people supporting it, as well as how the Philippines will adapt to a change in administration with the upcoming elections.

Rey Carpio, Grand Monaco, Philippine real estate
Grand Monaco President Reynaldo "Rey" Carpio

Grand Monaco, we’ve heard, seems to be growing and not just in terms of residential real estate.
Yes, we are. In fact, soon we will become the most diversified real estate company in the Philippines. But first, we intend to go into an IPO after the 2016 presidential elections. Right now, we have invested Php9 million for our computer upgrades, which we aim to complete within this year. We also launched our e-commerce facilities. When that was launched, our sales abroad increased, especially from America. Online sales yielded us up to Php60 million monthly, 60% of which came from the OFW market.

What other areas or industries are you exploring?
We’re starting the hotel business. We now have four buildings that we are readying to become hotels with affordable rates. We are planning to put up 50 hotels in the next 10 years.

We recently bought a 447-hectare property in my home province in Cagayan. We have livestock and horses there, then we’re going to plant mangoes and other fruit-bearing trees. Here’s my plan: I will hold a horse race and a motocross tournament there, and invite the media to cover the event.

We’re also into the food business. We have 24 outlets of our King Sisig, and five branches of Bulalo World restaurant.

Finally, we plan to enter the memorial business. I myself have witnessed many of my deceased relatives being embalmed, autopsied, prepared for viewing, and buried. So I believe I myself have had relevant experience in this business. And of course, I know how to develop property. But this is a serious business. A one-square meter plot in a middle-class memorial park now costs Php100,000 to Php120,000. In a middle-class subdivision, one square meter costs Php10,000. And in the memorial business, everyone is your potential customer, because everybody dies sooner or later.

Aside from real estate, you also seem to have a great passion for education. How is that translating to how you run your business and your employees?
We provide continuing MBA programs for our regular employees. To date, we have more than 20 employees who have completed their MBA or master’s degree. Then we have enrolled another five employees for a PhD course.

So, when my employees move up in their academic achievements, my work becomes easier.

Grand Monaco, La Potenza, Philippine real estate, house for sale
Grand Monaco La Potenza in Pasig City

Speaking of education, your son Mark Anthony seems to be getting a good grasp of the business now. Did he always want to follow in your footsteps?
When Mark first joined the organization, he was only 21, a fresh college graduate. His responsibilities hadn’t yet sunk in. He would abruptly leave board meetings to go on gigs with his friends. I just let him be. He is a musician. He was a singer in a band.

He realized later on that he really wanted to stay with the company. And one day he confided with me that he wanted to take his job in the company seriously.

Is it safe to say he’s being groomed to take over one day?
At the age of 25, he and I shook hands on a gentleman’s agreement, a covenant that he would be on a 5-year on-the-job training with the company, because at the age of 30, he would be the next president of Grand Monaco. He’s 28, so he’s on his 3rd year as OJT. He still has 2 years left. But he’s a fast learner. He’s now the EVP and CFO of Grand Monaco.

So, when he does become president, I can retire early, and perhaps concentrate on our other businesses.

Right now, the Philippine economy is booming.  But with elections coming up, how well do you think it will adapt to a new administration?
The Philippines is like the student from the province sent by moneyed parents to study in the big city. So, even if the kid isn’t doing so well in his or her studies, he or she is going to get a steady influx of allowances from the rich dad. That’s how foreign remittances are for us. Overseas Filipinos already remit the equivalent of Php1.2 trillion annually. That’s practically half the annual budget of the Philippine government.

So, whoever sits as President, be it Mar Roxas, Binay, Grace Poe, or even Vice Ganda, the money from the OFWs will keep coming in. Our economy will stay buoyant and vibrant. And how long will these remittances keep coming in? I estimate for at least another 20 years.

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